January 31, 2012

Overview: AFCON 2012 Referee Appointments (Group Stage)

Group A, 21/01/2012 19:30, Bata
Equatorial Guinea – Libya
Referee: Noumandiez Doue (CIV)
Assistant Referee 1: Songuifolo Yeo (CIV)
Assistant Referee 2: Jason Damoo (SEY)
4th Official: Khalid Abdel Rahman (SUD)

Group A, 21/01/2012, 22:00, Bata
Senegal – Zambia
Referee: Néant Alioum (CMR)
Assistant Referee 1: Evarist Menkouande (CMR)
Assistant Referee 2: Yanoussa Moussa (CMR)
4th Official: Ali Lemghaïfry (MTN)

Group B, 22/01/2012, 17:00, Mabalo
Côte d’Ivoire – Sudan
Referee: Rajindraparsad Seechurn (MRI)
Assistant Referee 1: Angessom Ogbamariam (ERI)
Assistant Referee 2: Balkrishna Bootun (MRI)
4th Official: Hamada Nampiandraza (MAD)

Group B, 22/01/2012, 20:00, Malabo
Burkina Faso – Angola
Referee: Mohamed Benouza (ALG)
Assistant Referee 1: Jean-Claude Birumushahu (BDI)
Assistant Referee 2: Abdelhak Etchiali (ALG)
4th Official: Ghead Grisha (EGY)

Group C, 23/01/2012, 17:00, Libreville
Gabon – Niger
Referee: Eddy Maillet (SEY)
Assistant Referee 1: Aboubacar Doumbouya (GUI)
Assistant Referee 2: Aden Marwa Range (KEN)
4th Official: Bakary Gassama (GAM)

Group C, 23/01/2012, 20:00, Libreville
Morocco – Tunisia
Referee: Daniel Bennett (RSA)
Assistant Referee 1: Peter Edibe (NGA)
Assistant Referee 2: Zakhele Thusi Siwela (RSA)
4th Official: Janny Sikazwe (ZAM)

Badara Diatta (Senegal) issued the first red card of this AFCON.

Group D, 24/01/2012, 17:00, Franceville
Ghana – Botsuana
Referee: Badara Diatta (SEN, r.)
Assistant Referee 1: Djibril Camara (SEN)
Assistant Referee 2: Redouane Achik (MRC)
4th Official: Bouchaïb El Ahrach (MRC)

Group D, 24/01/2012, 20:00, Franceville
Mali – Guinea
Referee: Slim Jedidi (TUN)
Assistant Referee 1: Beshir Hassani (TUN)
Assistant Referee 2: Felicien Kabanda (RWA)
4th Official: Eric Otogo (GBN)

Group A, 25/01/2012, 18:15 (delayed), Bata
Libya – Zambia
Referee: Koman Coulibaly (MLI)
Assistant Referee 1: Balla Diarra (MLI)
Assistant Referee 2: Richard Bouende-Malonga (CGO)
4th Official: Rajindraparsad Seechurn (MRI)

Group A, 25/01/2012, 21:15 (delayed), Bata
Equatorial Guinea – Senegal
Referee: Khalid Abdel Rahman (SUD)
Assistant Referee 1: Moffat Champiti (MWI)
Assistant Referee 2: Jean-Claude Birumushahu (BDI)
4th Official: Mohamed Benouza (ALG)

Group B, 26/01/2012, 17:00, Malabo
Sudan – Angola
Referee: Ali Lemghaïfry (MTN)
Assistant Referee 1: Jason Damoo (SEY)
Assistant Referee 2: David Shaanika (NAM)
4th Official: Eric Otogo (GBN)

Group B, 26/01/2012, 20:00, Malabo
Ghana – Burkina Faso
Referee: Ghead Grisha (EGY)
Assistant Referee 1: Evarist Menkouande (CMR)
Assistant Referee 2: Aden Marwa Range (KEN)
4th Official: Slim Jedidi (TUN)
Koman Coulibaly a few moments before falling asleep (at least it looks like)

Group C, 27/01/2012, 17:00, Libreville
Niger – Tunisia
Referee: Janny Sikazwe (ZAM)
Assistant Referee 1: Angessom Ogbamariam (ERI)
Assistant Referee 2: Balkrishna Bootun (MRI)
4th Official: Néant Alioum (CMR)

Group C, 27/01/2012, 20:00, Libreville
Gabon – Morocco
Referee: Bakary Gassama (GAM)
Assistant Referee 1: Songuifolo Yeo (CIV)
Assistant Referee 2: Felicien Kabanda (RWA)
4th Official: Noumandiez Doue (CIV)

Group D, 28/01/2012, 17:00, Franceville
Botsuana – Guinea
Referee: Bouchaïb El Ahrach (MRC)
Assistant Referee 1: Beshir Hassani (TUN)
Assistant Referee 2: Théophile Vinga (GBN)
4th Official: Eddy Maillet (SEY)

Group D, 28/01/2012, 20:00, Franceville
Ghana – Mali
Referee: Djamel Haïmoudi (ALG)
Assistant Referee 1: Abdelhak Etchiali (ALG)
Assistant Referee 2: Yanoussa Moussa (CMR)
4th Official: Hamada Nampiandraza (MAD)

Group A, 29/01/2012, 19:00, Bata
Libya – Senegal
Referee: Rajindraparsad Seechurn (MRI)
Assistant Referee 1: Peter Edibe (NGA)
Assistant Referee 2: David Shaanika (NAM)
4th Official: Ali Lemghaïfry (MTN)

Group A, 29/01/2012, 19:00, Malabo
Equatorial Guinea – Zambia
Referee: Mohamed Benouza (ALG)
Assistant Referee 1: Redouane Achik (MRC)
Assistant Referee 2: Aboubacar Doumbouya (GUI)
4th Official: Ghead Grisha (EGY)

Group B, 30/01/2012, 19:00, Bata
Sudan – Burkina Faso
Referee: Eric Otogo (GBN)
Assistant Referee 1: Djibril Camara (SEN)
Assistant Referee 2: Jean-Claude Birumushahu (BDI)
4th Official: Badara Diatta (SEN)

Group B, 30/01/2012, 19:00, Malabo
Côte d’Ivoire – Angola
Referee: Slim Jedidi (TUN)
Assistant Referee 1: Balla Diarra (MLI)
Assistant Referee 2: Felicien Kabanda (RWA)
4th Official: Koman Coulibaly (MLI)

Group C, 31/01/2012, 19:00, Libreville
Morocco – Niger
Referee: Hamada Nampiandraza (MAD)
Assistant Referee 1: Jason Damoo (SEY)
Assistant Referee 2: Aden Marwa Range (KEN)
4th Official: Néant Alioum (CMR)

Group C, 31/01/2012, 19:00, Franceville
Gabon – Tunisia
Referee: Noumandiez Doue (CIV)
Assistant Referee 1: Evarist Menkouande (CMR)
Assistant Referee 2: Yanoussa Moussa (CMR)
4th Official: Eddy Maillet (SEY)
A candidate for the final? South Africa's Daniel Bennett.

Group D, 01/02/2012, 19:00, Franceville
Ghana – Guinea
Referee: Daniel Bennett (RSA)
Assistant Referee 1: Songuifolo Yeo (CIV)
Assistant Referee 2: Zakhele Thusi Siwela (RSA)
4th Official: Bakary Gassama (GAM)

Group D, 01/02/2012, 19:00, Libreville
Botsuana – Mali
Referee: Khalid Abdel Rahman (SUD)
Assistant Referee 1: Moffat Champiti (MWI)
Assistant Referee 2: Balkrishna Bootun (MRI)
4th Official: Djamel Haïmoudi (ALG)
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January 30, 2012

Felix Brych in charge of England - Netherlands

The German UEFA Elite Group referee Dr. Felix Brych from Munich has been selected to officiate the classic between England and the Netherlands played in Wembley Stadium on February, 29th. 

According to DFB, he will be assisted by his regular Champions-League assistant referees Thorsten Schiffner from Konstanz/Lake Constance and Mark Borsch (Mönchengladbach).
This match will be his second showpiece held at Wembley after already having refereed England - Switzerland in 2008 (2-1), while it will be his third involvement in a Dutch friendly match (after Netherlands - Wales and Netherlands - Austria).
Brych was also in charge of the classic Italy - Spain in 2011 (2-1). This reinforces his great acknowledgement on international level. The question is inhowfar this match could also function as kind of preparation for further insets in Wembley with regard to the upcoming Olympic Games organized by FIFA.

Furthermore, Florian Meyer (Burgdorf) has been appointed to referee the friendly match between Switzerland and Argentina on the same day. He will be assisted by Holger Henschel (Braunschweig) and Christoph Bornhorst (Damme).

Thorsten Kinhöfer (Herne) will referee the friendly between Turkey and Slovakia held in Bursa at the same evening. He will be assisted by Detlef Scheppe (Wenden) and Stefan Lupp (Zossen).

Apart from that, Paolo Valeri will make his A-friendly bow when overseeing Austria - Finland. The assistant referees are not known yet.
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January 27, 2012

UEFA referees prepare in Turkey (UEFA.com)


Turkey welcomes Europe's top referees and newcomers to the international list for UEFA's annual winter referees' courses next week – with UEFA EURO 2012 one of the key items on the agenda.

from left: Felix Brych, Stéphane Lannoy, Alberto Undiano, Laurent Duhamel (c) UEFA.com

Europe's top referees travel to Turkey next week for the annual UEFA winter courses – with preparations for UEFA EURO 2012 and the knockout stages of UEFA's club competitions the focal point, as well as introducing international newcomers to their responsibilities at European level. UEFA has decided to hold the 20th UEFA Advanced Course for Top Referees and 21st UEFA Introductory Course for International Referees in the Mediterranean city of Antalya. Winter courses were previously held there in 2001.
Europe's football governing body organises two main referee courses a year: a summer gathering where match officials are primed for the new season and given specific instructions for club and national-team duties, and a winter get-together designed to guide the referees into the second half of the campaign.
The winter introductory course serves to welcome new international referees to the tasks ahead. FIFA's list of European international referees this year features 43 new names who are representing 28 European national associations, and the introductory course will be their first official experience of the international circuit. Twenty-four of the newcomers have already attended courses at the UEFA Centre of Refereeing Excellence (CORE) in Nyon, which is preparing promising young officials for the future.

"Their preparation for officiating at UEFA matches will start here," said UEFA's chief refereeing officer Pierluigi Collina. "Their first appointments as international referees will include youth mini-tournaments or the qualification rounds of the UEFA Europa League or UEFA Champions League."

The FIFA novices undertake an extensive medical check-up and take the FIFA fitness test. For the first time, they will have their visual abilities tested by specialised sports optometrists. With referees needing to maintain focus and concentration amid the high pace of a modern elite game, it is essential that they are able to fix their vision on incidents, to focus on close or moving objects and react to movement around them.

The newcomers will also receive various instructions from the UEFA administration on matters such as writing reports and how to conduct themselves as UEFA representatives at matches. With English the common UEFA refereeing language, members of the UEFA Referees Committee will interview the match officials to evaluate their working knowledge of English.

Furthermore, the introductory course will contain presentations by Referees Committee members and video sessions analysing specially prepared footage from UEFA games over the past year. Participants will also learn about specific training sessions, including exercises relevant to their movement during a match.

For the advanced course, UEFA has invited the 22 elite category referees and 17 elite development category referees, plus a small selection of first category referees. In addition, five Turkish FIFA referees who are not members of these categories have been invited, to bring the total of delegates to 56.

Among this number are the 12 match officials chosen by the UEFA Referees Committee in December to take charge of games at UEFA EURO 2012 in Poland and Ukraine this summer, as well as others who will be present at the tournament as additional assistant referees and fourth officials.

"Basically, the referees selected will follow the normal preparation that UEFA has for the elite referees," Collina explained to UEFA.com after the EURO appointments were announced. This means that the winter course in Antalya will be followed by the referees resuming their UEFA competition duties in mid-February. The EURO officials will then attend a workshop in Warsaw at the end of April and beginning of May, and will also be given specific preparation by UEFA's expert team under the leadership of referee fitness expert Werner Helsen.

Referees in the advanced group will have to pass an intermittent recovery fitness check, and will get instructions from the Referees Committee members concerning their assignments in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League knockout stages, in particular with a view to achieving consistency and uniformity in decision-making.

text taken from UEFA.com
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January 25, 2012

Nikolaev not considered for UEFA EL K.O. stage

As announced, I have received a list of eleven officials from UEFA's First Group who will oversee matches in the upcoming UEFA Europa League K.O. stage.
Not among the names: Aleksei Nikolaev. The Russian referee who has been demoted at the end of 2011 from Elite to First Group seems to have become immaterial in UEFA's future plans. The case Nikolaev is a difficult one. One does not really know what happened in the committees, one thing is clear, UEFA does not seem to have been content with his appearances in e.g. his only K.O. stage match in UCL (Valencia 1-1 Schalke, 2011). 
However, there are some young talents and some experienced men who will get their chance.
The list contains:

Manuel de Sousa, Portugal, 1975 (photo)
Laurent Duhamel, France, 1968
Antony Gautier, France, 1977 
Pawel Gil, Poland, 1976
Serge Gumienny, Belgium, 1972
Ovidiu Alin Hategan, Romania, 1980 
Stefan Johannesson, Sweden, 1971
Matej Jug, Slovenia, 1980 
Michael Koukoulakis, Greece, 1975
István Vad, Hungary, 1979
Alon Yefet, Israel, 1972

Apart from these 11 First Group refs, all the Elite and Elite Development officials may get EL matches in the 2nd half of 2011/12.

The results of the community's predictions can be found on the right hand side in the poll.
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January 24, 2012

Foot-Up-Tackles to be consistently punished with a straight red card

We have recognized during the last weeks that one problem is still apparent in football (refereeing). That is the danger that results from foot-up-tackles. Players can be easily injured by such fouls, they have to be protected.

Nonetheless, there is no consistent measure to punish these fouls. FIFA and DFB are always instructing to pay more attention to them and to issue more red cards after such fouls. The latest U17 World Cup has offered five situations in which the referees followed these instructions.
The FA has obviously instructed its officials, too, Chris Foy was often blamed for his decision to send Vincent Kompany off, by the majority of the community, many football supporters and by me, too. Today, I think a bit differently about this situation.

Unfortunately, this message has not arrived the Seychelles and Eddy Maillet, as the attached video shows it. The video contains the decisions I would have taken at his place. It is clear that one can have different opinions about that, it is also clear that situations look different in the pitch and that the referee has only one opportunity to see the foul. 
Hence, this video is not aimed at blaming Eddy Maillet, but to create discussions and to show the necessity of more red cards on such situations to guarantee the players' health, even though committing such fouls does not always mean that it was the respective player's intention.

Personally, I want to emphasize that I am a fan of hard football. But there is a borderline, everyone has to recognize this.

What is your attitude towards these situations?

It should be like this (2:06):

match report

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January 18, 2012

In conversation with Urs Meier

Having been in charge of two World Cups, two European Championships, a Champions-League Final and seven semifinals of this - the world's most popular - league, Urs Meier belongs to the greatest referees ever. 
This week, he has answered a few questions on his personal experience as worldclass referee, on current issues in the world of football refereeing, the situation in Switzerland and the selection of the officials who will join EURO 2012 in an exclusive interview for which I sincerely want to thank Urs Meier.

(The interview was given in German, you might find a good translation here by simply inserting this post's link)

WoFR: Wie kam es eigentlich, dass Sie sich für eine Schiedsrichterlaufbahn entschieden haben?
Urs Meier: Da ich mit 14 Jahren realisiert hatte, dass ich meinen Traum, einmal im vollen San Siro (Giuseppe Meazza Stadion, wie es heute heisst) als aktiver Fußballer einzulaufen, nicht erreichen konnte, da meine technischen Fähigkeiten einfach nicht ausreichten, habe ich den Weg als Schiedsrichter genommen.

Zwei WM Teilnahmen, darunter ein Halbfinale; zwei Europameisterschaften; insgesamt sieben Halbfinalspiele der UEFA Champions League und schließlich, im Jahr 2002, wurde Ihnen die Leitung des Champions League Finales zwischen Leverkusen und Real Madrid übertragen.
Was war für Sie der bewegendste und der herausragendste Moment in Ihrer Karriere?
Sicher mein erstes WM-Spiel USA – Iran in Lyon, und zwar der Moment, wo beide Mannschaften sich gemischt aufgestellt hatten, der Welt damit Frieden, Gemeinschaft, Freundschaft demonstrierten und dann das Blitzlichtgewitter der Fotografen begann, welche in doppelter Menge da waren, da sich ja auch die politische Presse dafür interessierte. Dieser Moment, wo die ganze Menge kreischte, weil sie realisierte, dass in diesem Moment etwas Historisches passierte, dies sind die Momente, wofür es sich lohnt zu leiden, zu arbeiten, zu verzichten. Einfach wunderschön!

Heute leiten Sie die „Urs Meier Management AG“ (Ihre Frau scheint Sie dabei tatkräftig zu unterstützen). Wie sieht Ihr Engagement in diesem Bereich genau aus? 
Ich habe letztes Jahr meine Firma im Bereich Haushaltgeräte und Küchen (Mundart Küchen- + Haushaltgeräte) verkauft und widme mich voll und ganz meiner „neuen“ Tätigkeit im Bereich Ausbildung + Coaching, wo ich momentan vor allem Vorträge für renommierte Firmen halte. Doch sind weitere Ideen und Tätigkeiten im Köcher. Diese Geschäftsform gibt mir vor allem eine Freiheit, welche ich brauche.

Jahrelang wurden Sie u.a. von Rudolf Käppeli, Francesco Buragina – der vor zwei Wochen ebenfalls die Altersgrenze überschritten hat - und auch dem Tschechen Evzen Amler in großen Spielen begleitet. Was bedeutet Ihnen diese jahrelange Unterstützung? Haben Sie noch Kontakt zu Ihren damaligen Assistenten? 
Ohne gute, nein sehr gute Assistenten hat man im internationalen Bereich keine Chance, Erfolg zu haben. Deshalb gilt mein Dank auch immer meinen Assistenten, welche ich gerade in der Schweiz selber ausgesucht und ins Team integriert habe. Es entstanden daraus auch Freundschaften, welche ich natürlich auch heute noch pflege.

Urs Meier während der Berichterst. des ZDF (2006, Foto: welt.de)
Im Jahr 2005 sind Sie nach Überschreitung der Altersgrenze zurückgetreten. Doch das war für Sie nicht das Ende im Bereich des Schiedsrichterwesens. Nicht nur, dass Sie bis zum Juni des vergangenen Jahres der Chef der Schweizer Schiedsrichter waren und auch als Schiedsrichterbeobachter für die UEFA tätig waren. Sie haben außerdem durch eine erkenntnisreiche und humorvolle Berichterstattung gemeinsam mit Johannes B. Kerner und Jürgen Klopp Stimmung in die deutschen Wohnzimmer während der WM 2006 gebracht. Was für Erfahrungen haben Sie aus der Zeit nach der aktiven Laufbahn als Referee mitgenommen?
Viel Positives! Ich habe aber auch gesehen, dass wir uns im Schiedsrichterwesen nicht einigeln sollten, sondern offen, ehrlich, klar und auf Augenhöhe mit dem Umfeld (Spieler, Trainer, Vereinsführung, Fans, Medien etc.) auseinander setzen sollten. Wir sind nicht die Diener am Fussball, sondern ein wichtiger Teil davon.

Wie muss man sich die Arbeit in einem Schiedsrichterkomitee vorstellen, wie läuft die Erstellung von Schiedsrichteransetzungen ab? Inwiefern gibt es Instruktionen des Komitees an die Schiedsrichter? 
Bei  der Schiedsrichteransetzung ist Fingerspitzengefühl verlangt. D.h. Du musst für jede Partie den bestmöglichen Schiedsrichter nominieren. Nicht immer ist die Nr. 1 auch der Richtige für das Spitzenspiel, vielleicht ist es ein ganz anderer Kollege, der dafür prädestiniert ist. Da die FIFA-Regeln bestehen und die Weisungen vor einer Meisterschaft erteilt worden sind, ist es nicht mehr notwendig den Schiedsrichtern vor den Spielen Instruktionen zu geben. Dies würde sie eher noch verunsichern und dies ist nicht im Sinne des Erfinders.

Jeder deutsche Fußballfan, der die Weltmeisterschaft 2002 verfolgt hat, wird sich an die berechtigte Verwarnung gegen Michael Ballack im Halbfinalspiel erinnern, wodurch er im Finale gesperrt war. Darf einen Schiedsrichter so etwas auch nur ansatzweise tangieren? Ist einem Schiedsrichter dies überhaupt bewusst? Redet man darüber allgemein mit dem betroffenen Spieler einige Zeit später? 
Natürlich wusste ich, dass Michael Ballack vorbelastet war, wie übrigens noch andere Spieler. Da ich zu diesem Zeitpunkt schon etliche Rückrunden-Halbfinalspiele in der Champions League geleitet hatte, wusste ich auch, dass man in solchen Spielen die Messlatte für gelbe Karten sehr hoch ansetzen kann. Doch was darüber ist, ist darüber und das wissen auch die Spieler und Trainer. Deshalb gab es auch von Seiten Ballack oder des DFB nie eine Kritik an dieser gelben Karte. Mit Michael Ballack habe ich unterdessen schon oft gesprochen und auch für ihn war es nie eine Frage, diese Karte musste gezeigt werden, so wie er das Foul machen musste, da es sonst vermutlich 1:0 für die Südkoreaner gestanden hätte.

Englische Fußballfans machten Sie für das Ausscheiden ihrer Nationalmannschaft im Viertelfinale der EM 2004 verantwortlich. Die Nachwirkung dessen war immens. Sie erhielten zahlreiche Drohungen und wurden für einige Zeit unter Polizeischutz genommen. Ähnliches widerfuhr dem Schweden Anders Frisk und auch dem Norweger Tom Övrebö. Der deutsche Schiedsrichter Babak Rafati hat im vergangenen Herbst versucht, sich das Leben zu nehmen. Als Grund dafür führte er später den enorm gestiegenen Druck auf Schiedsrichter an, dem er nicht mehr standhalten konnte.
Was ging Ihnen durch den Kopf, als Sie davon erfuhren? Was muss Ihrer Meinung nach passieren, um mit dem Druck, besonders mit dem medialen Druck, besser oder überhaupt umgehen zu können?
Ich denke, jeder dieser Fälle muss einzeln betrachtet werden und dabei denke ich vor allem an Babak Rafati, welchem ich einfach nur das Beste wünsche. Druck gehört im Spitzenfussball dazu, an die Grenzen zu gehen, schwierige Situationen zu meistern, schwierige Spiele gut zu leiten, das sind doch die Herausforderungen, welche ein Spitzenschiedsrichter braucht, so wie ein Bergsteiger auch immer auf höhere, schwierigere Berge will. Wichtig dabei ist, dass der Schiedsrichter dabei gesichert ist, d.h. das Seil sind die Verbände, welche den Schiedsrichter schützen müssen, wenn es einmal nicht so gut läuft, wenn er droht abzustürzen, dann müssen sie aktiv werden und sich im Grossformat vorne hinstellen. Dies passierte leider weder bei mir, noch bei Anders Frisk und auch nicht bei Tom Ovrebö.

Angesichts dieser Druckzustände, was soll einen Jugendlichen dazu bewegen, Schiedsrichter zu werden?
Genau diese Faszination: etwas Grosses zu erreichen, wie die WM, EM oder die Bundesliga. An solchen Aufgaben wächst man.

FIFA Präsident Blatter fordert, dass auch in Ländern wie Deutschland mehr Wert auf die Professionalität von Unparteiischen gelegt werden sollte. Zudem hat er angekündigt, dass bei der nächsten WM ausschließlich Profis zum Einsatz kommen sollen. Löst das die Probleme? Ist ein Schiedsrichter besser, wenn er Profi ist? Sie selbst leiteten parallel ein Haushaltsgerätegeschäft. Wie wichtig war Ihnen dieses zweite Standbein?
Der einzige Amateur im heutigen Profi – Fussball ist der Schiedsrichter! Gerade bei Weltmeisterschaften, Europameisterschaften, Champions League Spielen, aber auch in den grossen europäischen Ligen müssen Profischiedsrichter her. Ich bin schon sehr lange ein Verfechter der Profischiedsrichter. Diskutiert man heute noch darüber, ob ein Profifussballer bessere Leistungen bringt als ein Amateur? Könnte man sich einen Amateur Bundesligaverein vorstellen? Eine Nationalmannschaft, welche noch Amateur-Fussballer einsetzt? Nein und nochmals nein! Ein Profi bringt über die gesamte Dauer die besseren Leistungen und hat die grössere Akzeptanz. Es würde auch der Bundesliga gut anstehen auf Profischiedsrichter umzustellen, da sie zu den Top 5 Ligen der Welt zählt.

Wir alle erinnern uns an die Szene im WM Achtelfinale 2010 zwischen Deutschland und England, als der Uruguayer Mauricio Espinosa nicht sah, dass Lampards Heber die Linie deutlich überschritt. Laut der Regel muss sich der Schiedsrichterassistent aber auf Höhe des letzten Verteidigers befinden, wie kann er mit dem menschlichen Auge solche Situationen dann überhaupt beurteilen? Schreit dies nicht förmlich nach einem Einsatz von technischen Hilfsmitteln im Profifußball?
(Foto: (c) ursmeier.ch)
Nein, das menschliche Auge kann das nicht feststellen, dies habe ich danach mit Hilfe des ZDF auch sofort aufgezeigt. Deshalb bin ich auch hier schon lange (über 10 Jahre) ein Verfechter des Chip im Ball. Es kann doch nicht sein, dass in der heutigen Zeit die ganze Welt sieht, dass der Ball klar über der Linie ist nur die Schiedsrichter nicht? Tor oder nicht Tor ist ein schwarz-weiss Entscheid und kann mit technischen Hilfsmitteln überwacht werden, so wie dies auch im Eishockey schon seit Jahren praktiziert wird. Da diese Technik auch Kosten verursacht, bin ich der Meinung, dass sie vor allem bei grossen Turnieren und in den grossen Ligen eingesetzt werden sollte.

Bleiben wir bei der WM 2010. Nicht nur Jorge Larrionda, sondern auch Ihr Landsmann Massimo Busacca zählte zu den Favoriten auf das Finale, nicht zu vergessen Roberto Rosetti. Man muss es so drastisch formulieren, jeder wurde aufgrund nur eines Fehlers ihrer jeweiligen Assistenten von der FIFA nach Hause geschickt. Was halten Sie von diesem „Stand as team – fall as team“ Prinzip, welches die FIFA seit der WM 2006 fährt? Sie selbst haben ja durchaus noch mit ausländischen Assistenten zusammengearbeitet, bei der WM 2002 wurden indes noch die Trios gemischt. Halten Sie es folglich für sinnvoller, die Teams zu mischen, um somit flexibler zu sein und leistungsgerechtere Ansetzungen erstellen zu können?
Nein, ich bin klar der Meinung, dass es ein Team braucht, welches über eine längere Zeit miteinander arbeiten kann. Die Zeit,  in welcher man erst 24 Stunden vor dem Spiel die Assistenten zugeteilt erhielt, ist vorbei. Wir sollten uns in der Schiedsrichterei viel mehr an den Fussballteams orientieren, diese zeigen uns auf, wie man erfolgreich arbeitet. Man stelle sich vor, dass Messi auf einmal mit Schweinsteiger ein WM-Spiel bestreiten soll, ohne vorher miteinander gespielt  zu haben.

Zuletzt wurden besonders junge Schiedsrichter wie Viktor Kassai oder Cuneyt Cakir von der UEFA „gepushed“. Beide gelten als eher großzügige Schiedsrichter, die auch mal die ein oder andere Karte, die eigentlich fällig wäre, stecken lassen.
Eine Entwicklung zu mehr Persönlichkeit und weniger Regelbuch? 
Persönlichkeit ist und war immer das Wichtigste. Welche Schiedsrichter sind uns in Erinnerung geblieben? Nicht die Regelexperten, sondern die Spielleiter, welche eben ein Spiel leiten und nicht nur pfeifen. Die wichtigste Regel ist immer die Regel 18, der gesunde Menschenverstand. Doch darf man Grosszügigkeit nicht mit Gleichgültigkeit verwechseln. Schutz der Spieler muss für einen Schiedsrichter immer an erster Stelle stehen.

Im vergangenen Dezember hat die UEFA die Schiedsrichter für die kommende EM veröffentlicht.
Dazu einige Fragen:

Von den Schiedsrichtern der letztem EM in Österreich und der Schweiz ist nur noch ein Hauptschiedsrichter übrig geblieben: Howard Webb. Zudem vervollständigen neben erfahrenen Unparteiischen wie Wolfgang Stark, Nicola Rizzoli und Viktor Kassai auch Neulinge wie Cuneyt Cakir oder Damir Skomina die Liste. Eine Trendwende der UEFA?
Eine Trendwende ist das nicht. Doch es zeigt auf, dass viele Nationen erkannt haben, dass sie in Sachen Schiedsrichterausbildung und Förderung etwas machen müssen. Gerade „kleinere“ Nationalverbände haben unglaubliche Anstrengungen unternommen um Ihre Leute an ein grosses Turnier zu bringen. D.h. aber auch für die „grossen“ Verbände und für die traditionell starken Schiedsrichternationen (wie z.B. die Schweiz), dass sie sich nicht auf den Lorbeeren ausruhen dürfen.

Gibt es dann überhaupt so etwas wie einen erweiterten Favoritenkreis für das Finale?
Jedes Turnier hat seine eigene Gesetzmässigkeit, d.h. man muss zuerst einmal zwei, drei perfekte Spiele leiten und dann auch noch das Glück haben, dass diese Nationalmannschaften weiterkommen, welche man auch leiten darf. Was nützt es Wolfgang Stark, wenn er super pfeift (wie bei der WM in Südafrika) und Deutschland steht im Halbfinale?

Dieses Mal ist kein Schweizer Schiedsrichter dabei. Zwar ist Stephan Studer unter Beobachtung der FIFA, doch auch in der Schweiz gab es einige Umstellungen in der nahen Vergangenheit. Claudio Circhetta und Massimo Busacca sind zurückgetreten; mit Adrien Jaccottet und Stephan Klossner hat die Schweiz zwei junge Schiedsrichter auf der internationalen Liste.
Was kann das Schweizer Schiedsrichterwesen in der nahen Zukunft erreichen, was sollte das Ziel sein?
Wie bereits [vorher] gesagt, benötigt die Schweiz nun ein klares Profil, ein klares Zeichen des Verbandes, damit die Tradition der Schweizer Top-Schiedsrichter weitergehen kann. Mir fehlen oft diese Ziele für die Schiedsrichter von Verbandsseite. Bei jeder U-Mannschaft werden Ziele gesetzt, die Schiedsrichter werden sich selbst überlassen! Da die Schiedsrichter ein (wichtiger) Teil des Verbandes sind, sollten auch hier klare Ziele formuliert werden und alles Menschenmögliche unternommen werden, diese auch zu erreichen: Visionen ohne Taten sind Träume. Taten ohne Visionen ist verlorene Zeit. Visionen und Taten zusammen können die Welt verändern!

Sie selbst kennen die Situation, in der die auserwählten EM-Schiedsrichter sich jetzt befinden, nur zu gut. Was geht in einem vor?
Freude, Vorfreude auf ein grosses Turnier, auf tolle Spiele, auf eine geile Zeit! Man ist dabei, man hat es geschafft, man ist einer der „großen“ Schiedsrichter.

Abschließend noch eine Frage: was sollte sich im Profifußball und im Schiedsrichterwesen grundsätzlich ändern?
Fairplay! Denken vom anderen her! Was schade ich meinem Gegenüber mit meinem Handeln mit meinem Tun? Nur gemeinsam können wir das Produkt Fussball noch besser machen. Doch eines ist auch klar: wir sind die Unparteiischen. Spieler, Trainer und Funktionäre werden immer Partei sein. Wir sind auf einem gemeinsamen See, aber jeder in seinem eigenen Boot. 

Vielen Dank, Herr Meier, für diese erkenntnisreichen und ausführlichen Antworten!

(c) copyright: footballrefereeing.blogspot.com

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January 17, 2012

"Chiquimarco" suspended due to "double yellow"

The Mexican World Cup Referee Marco Rodríguez Moreno has been suspended for five matches by the Mexican Football Federation due to a maverick campaign. 

Rodríguez was in charge of the Mexican league final between UANL Tigres and Santos, when he issued two yellow cards at the same time. You may find the situation here. (for those who want to see the reds as well: minute 12, minute 68 (x2))
The responsible General Secretary of the Mexican federation stated that his move "was not anything which is considered in the rules of referees" and moreover exposed that the two-time World Cup Referee "failed the responsibilities and task of a referee". 

Rodríguez took part in two FIFA World Cups where he oversaw two Group Stage matches each. Furthermore, he assisted his compatriot Benito Archundia in 2010 FIFA World Cup's 3rd place match between Uruguay and Germany as 4th official.
He is working as teacher for the German school of Mexico City.

In the course of the match, Rodríguez issued seven yellow cards and dismissed three players.

Obviously, Rodríguez did not learn from this aftermath the German referee Thomas Metzen had to cope with who made the same move (s.b.).

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January 14, 2012

Tobias Stieler wird Bundesligaschiedsrichter

Mainz (dpa) - Der Deutsche Fußball-Bund hält Babak Rafati nach dessen Suizidversuch einen Platz frei. «Er fällt nicht aus den Bundesliga-Schiedsrichtern raus», sagte Herbert Fandel, Vorsitzender der Schiedsrichter-Kommission im DFB, bei der Halbzeittagung der Spitzenspielleiter in Mainz.

Tobias Stieler ist jetzt erstklassig (Foto: dnn.online)

Rafati hatte am 19. November unmittelbar vor der Partie 1. FC Köln - FSV Mainz 05 einen Selbsttötungsversuch unternommen. Erstklassig amtieren darf künftig Tobias Stieler aus dem hessischen Obertshausen. Der 30-Jährige pfiff bisher in der 2. Liga und ersetzt Marc Seemann aus Essen. Seemann hatte zu Beginn der Saison die Leistungsprüfung verletzungsbedingt nicht bestanden und war zurückgetreten. Für Stieler rückt Sascha Stegemann aus Niederkassel aus der 3. in die 2. Liga auf.

Hinter Rafatis Name stand auf der Teilnehmerliste der 40 Unparteiischen und 27 Assistenten dieses Mal «entschuldigt». Fandel hatte nach eigenen Angaben bisher keinen Kontakt zu ihm seit dem tragischen Vorfall in einem Kölner Hotel. «Aus meiner Sicht gebietet es der Anstand, dass Babak Rafati selbst entscheidet, wann er kommunizieren will. Das einzige Ziel ist, dass er wieder gesund und glücklich ist», sagte der frühere FIFA-Unparteiische aus Kyllburg. Auch Hellmut Krug, Schiedsrichter-Chef bei der Deutschen Fußball Liga (DFL), betonte: «Wir geben ihm alle Zeit, die er braucht.» Rafati befindet sich noch in Behandlung.

Auf dem Programm der Tagung stand unter anderem ein Referat von Marco Nill, Facharzt für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, über «Stress, Burnout, Depressionen - die Volkskrankheiten des 21. Jahrhunderts». Für Fandel war dies auch eine Chance, «dass sich der eine oder andere öffnet».

v.l.: Hellmut Krug, Herbert Fandel, Lutz-Michael Fröhlich (dfb.de)
Über die Zukunft von Michael Kempter wird der DFB im April oder Mai entscheiden. Der einstige FIFA-Referee aus Sauldorf hatte sich über viele Monate mit dem früheren DFB-Funktionär Manfred Amerell eine öffentliche Schlammschlacht geliefert. Zivilrechtlich ist diese beendet, aber Amerell will noch vom DFB-Kontrollausschuss angehört werden. «Die DFB-Schiedsrichter-Kommission muss zur kommenden Saison eine Entscheidung treffen», sagte Fandel. Kempter muss womöglich wieder weit unten anfangen: Schließlich, so der Schiedsrichter-Boss, habe er zwei Jahre nicht gepfiffen.

Nicht nur der Fall Rafati hat die Spielleiter in der Bundesliga-Hinrunde gebeutelt. Auch wegen des Verdachts der Steuerhinterziehung gegen zahlreiche Referees gab es Schlagzeilen. «Gerade zum Abschluss der Vorrunde sind wir sehr zufrieden mit den Schiedsrichtern, die unter besonderen Bedingungen ihre Leistungen abrufen mussten», bilanzierte Fandel. Verheimlichen dürfe man aber nicht, dass es im Herbst zwischen dem 11. und 13. Spieltag «eine Delle» gegeben habe. In der Steueraffäre werde man handeln, sobald Fakten vorlägen.

Quelle: http://www.weltfussball.de/news/bundesliga/_m74833_weiter-platz-fuer-rafati-stieler-pfeift-1-liga/ 

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Fraudulent referee in a test match

A Bulgarian referee has potentially refereed the test match between Werder Bremen (GER) and AZ Alkmaar (NED) under a false name.

When Bremen defeated the Dutchmen (2-1) in Belek last Wednesday, Raitscho Raitchev was supposed to officiate the match. According to Bulgarian media however, this referee has obviously stayed at home, instead, a former referee Latchesar Ionov has overseen the encounter.

"We have informed the DFB about these rumours. The referee attracted our attention by awarding an overblown additional time of ten minutes.", Bremen manager Allofs said.
Ionov is considered as reoffender: The former 2nd division referee was suspended by the Bulgarian FA in the last year as he refereed matches in Argentina and Venezuela without authorization.

In the last year, a similar case occurred when a Hungarian trio refereed a test match between Estonia and Bulgaria in Belek as well, the match ended 2-2, all the goals resulted from penalty kicks.

source: http://www.weltfussball.de/news/bundesliga/_m74831_wohl-falscher-referee-bei-werder-sieg-gegen-alkmaar/
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January 13, 2012

Viktor Kassai elected as best referee in 2011

I knew that something stupid will happen on Friday the 13th.
As every year, the international organization IFFHS (potentially stands for: I = irrealistic, FF = flight of fancy, H = hypocritical, S = superfluous) has made us the gift of seemingly representative rankings concerning different aspects. According to own information, the IFFHS is joined by 200 football experts coming from 120 different countries. At the end of a year, these experts give their opinions so that the organization based in Germany can then convert this into awards and rankings. This counts for referee rankings as well.

IFFHS has today published that - from its members' point of view - Viktor Kassai was the best referee in the last year 2011.  Having refereed the probably best Champions-League final for a few years, the Hungarian has confirmed his performances at 2010 FIFA World Cup in 2011 as well. The question is whether Kassai and especially Webb have kind of raison d'être in these regions of the ranking as long as the Uzbek Irmatov is only the no.3.

The full ranking:
1. Viktor Kassai (HUN), 2. Howard Webb (ENG), 3. Ravshan Irmatov (UZB), 4. Wolfgang Stark (GER), 5. Frank de Bleeckere (BEL), 6. Massimo Busacca (SUI) and Carlos Velasco Carballo (ESP), 8. Nicola Rizzoli (ITA), 9. Jorge Larrionda (URU), 10. Sálvio Fagundes (BRA), 11. Felix Brych (GER), 12. Sergio Pezzotta (ARG), 13. Joel Aguilar (SLV), Carlos Amarilla (PAR), Hector Baldassi (ARG), Yuichi Nishimura (JPN), 17. Martin Atkinson (ENG), 18. Pedro Proenca (POR), Björn Kuipers (NED), Alberto Undiano Mallenco (ESP), 21. Olegário Benquerenca (POR), Cuneyt Cakir (TUR)

I am still wondering how and whereby the IFFHS has come to this list. Coffee cup reading? The "alea-iacta-est" principle? Probably something like that.

I recommend IFFHS - as New Year's resolutions - to observe more attentively, perhaps we will be able to take their ranking seriously next time, as long as this organization will not broaden its horizon and knowledge, the title of "The World's Best Referee" should stay being merely a marginal note.

As counterpart, the community of this blog has elected their best referees of the last year. Our initial impression that our ranking will be closer to reality than IFFHS's has unfolded to have not been thus absurd..

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January 11, 2012

Danish supporter queasily punished for having attacked Fandel

The Danish fan, who attacked the former German top referee and current DFB Refereeing Head Herbert Fandel in 2007, has been penalized for his attack. He will have to pay 250.000 € due to the considerable extent from which the Danish football has suffered.

The incident happened during the last minutes of the EURO 2008 qualifier match between Denmark and Sweden in Parken, Kobenhavn. After Denmark had recovered from a 0-3 deficit during the match by equalizing in the 76th minute, Christian Poulsen committed a violent conduct in the penalty area.
Fandel consequently dismissed the Danish defender upon consultation with Volker Wezel and was then attacked by the fan. Fandel, his assistant referees Kadach and Wezel and the Fourth Official Florian Meyer decided to abandon the match. 

UEFA assessed the match as 3-0 win for Sweden afterwards at the baize table.

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January 9, 2012

Chris Foy causes some astonishment


In my opinion, one can partly understand Foy. His alarm bells must have rung. Foot-up tackle, both legs in front, but he did not really touch his opponent who by the way continued playing without any sign of having been fouled. 
To my mind, it was an exaggerated call by Chris Foy who was not the best choice for this intense Manchester derby in general; he created many problems himself. 
What is however the correct punishment for this foul? I do not think that only a free kick would have been enough, a yellow card may be issued, but never a red one.
I am still waiting for an official who has the courage to send Rooney off for his complaints and impudent trials to demand cards for opponents.

What do you think of the red card issued to Vincent Kompany? 


"An Independent Regulatory Commission has today dismissed a claim of wrongful dismissal from Manchester City’s Vincent Kompany following his red card for Serious Foul Play in The FA Cup Third Round tie between Manchester City v Manchester United on 8 January 2012.

Kompany will serve a four-match suspension with immediate effect. The suspension consists of a statutory three-match suspension for Serious Foul Play plus one additional game given this is Kompany’s second dismissal of the season." (thefa.com)

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Ravshan Irmatov is our "WORLDREFEREE 2011"

The Uzbek referee Ravshan Irmatov has been elected by the community of "World of Football Refereeing" as the world's best referee in the last year 2011. Having received three final appointments, he managed to confirm the outstanding impression one could receive during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Aged only 33, the future is widely open for Irmatov who is surely one of the best, perhaps the best referee on this planet at the moment.

World of Football Refereeing's WORLDREFEREE 2011: Ravshan Irmatov

The full list:

** due to the fact that I personally have forgotten to add the points given by our follower Qudamah, the ranking has slightly changed!

There are some officials whose votes were not enough for a top15 position, however, these names should not remain unmentioned. The following officials were on the shortlist (ordered by votes): Frank de Bleeckere (BEL), Dario Ubriaco (URU), Jorge Larrionda (URU), Ali Al Badwawi (UAE), Hector Baldassi (ARG), Noumandiez Doue (CIV), Craig Thomson (SCO), Salvio Fagundes (BRA), Jonas Eriksson (SWE), Raúl Orosco (BOL), Felix Brych (GER), Pavel Kralovec (CZE), Roberto Moreno (PAN), Yuichi Nishimura (JPN).

(c) footballrefereeing.blogspot.com
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January 7, 2012

Helder Martins returns to FIFA roster

Luanda - The Angolan referee Helder Martins was replaced in the staff of the International Federation of Football Association (FIFA), after the world sport governing body has changed the decision to exclude the referee from the list for 2012.

The chairman of the Central Council of Football Referees of Angola, Carvalho Neto, told the press in Luanda that the Angolan Federation of Football (FAF) received on Thursday a press communiqué from the African Confederation of Football (CAF) saying that the referee had returned to the staff of FIFA without advancing further details.
Carvalho Neto said that FAF asked CAF for explanation about the reasons that led to the removal of the referee Helder Martins.
At the end of last December, was released the information that Helder Martins, 34 years old, was not on the FIFA list of referees for 2012, for reasons that this body did not justify.

With his return, Angola has five international referees that include Antonio Caxala, Helder Martins, Romualdo Baltazar, Pedro dos Santos and Paulo Talaya. 
The assistant referees are Ricardo Daniel, Pedro Canombo, Wilson Ntyamba, Gerson dos Santos, Miguel Luvumbo, Inácio Cândido and Júlio Lemos, while on women are Tania Eduardo, Marximina Bernardo as referees and assistants are Adália Geremias and Luísa Luako.

source: http://www.portalangop.co.ao/motix/en_us/noticias/desporto/2012/0/1/Referee-Helder-Martins-returns-FIFA-staff,3af09be5-a435-4e60-9536-13e51cf53131.html
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January 6, 2012

FIFA Referee Committee members 2012-2014


Ángel María Villar Llona (ESP, r.)

Deputy Chairman
Michel D'Hooghe (BEL)
Zhang Jilong (CHN) 

Member Competition
Terence Babwah (TRI, Medical Committee)
Carlos Batres (GUA)
Tarek Bouchamaoui (TUN)
Fatou Gaye (SEN)
Toru Kamikawa (JPN)
Lee Harmon (CKI)
Ingrid Jonsson (SWE)
Jorge Larrionda (URU)
Jassim Mandi (BAH, Inspector Refereeing)
Peter Mikkelsen (DEN)
Celestin Ntagungira (RWA, Inspector Refereeing)
Alfredo Trentalange (ITA, Inspector Refereeing)

Member Development
Carlos Alarcón (PAR)
Katriina Elovirta (FIN)
Ted Howard (USA)
Belaïd Lacarne (ALG)
Jacqueline Leleu (AUS)
Michal Listkiewicz (POL, Instructor Refereeing)
Lambert Maltock (VAN)
Subkhiddin Mohd Salleh (MAS)
Mike Riley (ENG)
Oscar Ruiz (COL, Instructor Refereeing, r.)
James Sekajugo (UGA, Medical Committee)
Hector Vergara (CAN, Instructor Refereeing)
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January 4, 2012

AFCON 2012 Referees - Opinion

It equates a miracle. CAF has finally released the list of the officials who will join the 28th edition of CAF Africa Cup of Nations which will be held in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea this time. 
An extensive overview dealing with this competition, which accomplishes some kind of transition to the big tournaments in 2012’s summer, can be found here.

African football is always based on joy and celebration; even though some of the great nations are missing, a good and exciting tournament should be guaranteed. It is also an important test for the match officials. As some of the great names have lost their FIFA badge (this aspect will be revisited later), there are some free slots on FIFA’s prospective list for the next FIFA World Cup. Therefore, this tournament is an ideal chance for us to observe the selected officials. 
Taking the principle of the so called “continental neutrality” into consideration which had been being effective since the last World Cup in 2010, which means that – if the involved teams are from two different confederations – the referee has to come from a nation which joins another confederation than the involved teams, there is a great need to have more high-qualified CAF referees. At the last World Cup, there were several matches which needed an official from AFC, CAF, CONCACAF or OFC. Honestly speaking, AFC and CONCACAF were the only trustful and reliable confederations, e.g. with Benito Archundia, Ravshan Irmatov or Yuichi Nishimura. While OFC has established a referee, Peter O’Leary, who could reach more than previous referees from this confederation, CAF has to make its own efforts in order to keep pace with the others. The recent youth tournaments organized by FIFA unfolded that CAF officials are really able to fulfil that. Néant Alioum showed an outstanding tournament in Mexico; Djamel Haimoudi and Noumandiez Doue reached a lot in Colombia as well. Moreover, the assistant referee who had dominated the last decade of CAF assistant refereeing, the Rwandan Celestin Ntagungira, crossed the age limit. There are two aspiring assistant referees in Africa who could replace him: Felicien Kabanda from – again – Rwanda and the young and excellent Senegalese Djibril Camara. Both are highly regarded in Africa and also by FIFA. Of course, one may not forget others whose nomination (or non-nomination) will be evaluated later.
On the whole it is hence of great importance to point out the fact that African officials are not only needed, but furthermore rising. One should not underestimate their chances and I think that guys like Alioum have a great future ahead them.

The selection made by CAF upon consultation with Pierluigi Collina who advised the CAF officials in Cairo roughly consists of three parts.

The 1st part contains the officials everyone could expect. 
Let’s start with Néant Alioum (r.) whose importance for CAF has already been touched. I have to admit that I had not known this official until last June when the FIFA Under 17 World Cup nominations were revealed.
As he was born in 1982 and only made his FIFA bow in 2008, it was a quite surprising appointment. One thing was clear: FIFA does not appoint such a young man without reasons. Moreover, an appointment for a FIFA youth tournament naturally means that this referee is also on the prospective list for the next big World Cup 2014. Alioum totally convinced me in all his matches in Mexico; a quarterfinal was the logical consequence. His strenghts are surely the good card management and the interaction with players; positioning could be improved. This was the result I personally drew after the tournament. He managed to top this off by the appointment for the CAF Champions League final in 2011. I cannot remember any other referee who got a CL final so early in his career while being thus young. In addition to this, CAF has nominated his two countrymen Evarist Menkouande and Yanoussa Moussa, both are very experienced. Menkouande can exhibit a World Cup participation at Eddy Maillet’s side in 2010, Moussa was always a bit behind him but also received many WC qualifier appointments and along with Menkouande and Alioum, he was able to savour the CL final.
This referee is the biggest chance African refereeing has got and I am sure that he will confirm this impression at the AFCON.
The next great African hope is Daniel Bennett. The South African has attracted attention with an appointment and two matches at 2010’s FIFA Club World Cup. Prior to this more or less meaningless competition, he also participated in AFCON 2010 and got the highest number of matches: 3 (along with his countryman Damon the final referee Coulibaly). These matches were surely no rummage. Cameroon vs Gabon, Egypt vs Benin and the semifinal Ghana vs Nigeria. There is no need to raise any doubts on how Bennett is regarded by CAF. Daniel Bennett, who was originally born in England, has established in the peak of refereeing. He was however injured in November 2011 so that an AFCON participation was a bit in danger. His countryman and former World Cup referee Jerome Damon has lost his FIFA badge. What we know for sure is that Damon has been injured as well until the end of this month; this might be the whole truth behind that. A comeback might be possible, but nonetheless, Bennett seems to be South Africa’s no.1 and furthermore, he is along with Alioum the potentially “hottest” candidate for the next World Cup. He will be assisted by Zakhele Siwela who ran Martins’ lines in Mexico’s u17 World Cup in 2011.
Mr AFCON: Koman Coulibaly (Mali)
Koman Coulibaly from Mali is the next referee whose appointment was certainly clear before. After a doubtful perfomance in his first and last World Cup match in 2010 (Slovenia vs USA), he did not get so much in Africa either. However, he is again joining FIFA’s prospective roster for 2014, even though there must be doubts on the question of whether FIFA has still the will to trust him. I think they should, as he is a great referee who potentially suffered from the outstanding high pressure in 2010 he was not able to cope with. However, he was not the only in this regard… The final referee of
the last edition, who is by the way leading the amount of AFCON nominations (it will be his 5th), will be supported by his countryman Balla Diarra who has perhaps some outside chances to assist Coulibaly in more important matches than Group Stage matches.
Let’s continue with the Senegalese Badara Diatta. He is one of the best and most experienced officials Africa has had to offer during the last years. It will be his 4th AFCON; Diatta has thus far overseen ten WC qualifiers and also joined the Olympic Games in China in 2008. It was however not enough for WC 2010. He surely did not get so many matches at his many AFCONs, the ultimate feeling was 2010’s 3rd place match. However, this time he could have the chance to get a quarterfinal along with the brilliant Djibril Camara. In all the u17 WC matches, he showed a perfect offside/onside detection and the good thing about it is that this could be observed in matches in which the assistant referees were challenged many times. Furthermore, he was again called by FIFA to assist Noumandiez Doue in December’s Club World Cup and the Ivorian Doue is exactly the referee we will focus on now.
The Pharmacist from Abidjan has been elected as best African referee of the year 2011. After two – yes, one has to call a spade a spade – poor perfomances at 2010’s AFCON, two rather error-phone perfomances at Colombia’s Under 20 World Cup, this decision is a bit surprising, but he showed a very good perfomance in the 2nd leg of last year’s CL final. Furthermore, his Club World Cup match was also ok. Although his nomination along with Songuifolo Yeo was consequently sure and expected, I still have my doubts on how to classify this referee, perhaps the AFCON will establish more clarity.
Besides, Rajindraparsad Seechurn’s (the ref with the difficult name) selection is no surprise either, he showed very satisfying performances at 2010’s AFCON, is also under FIFA’s eyes and his style is quite remarkable: I have rarely seen a referee with more calmness than him, furthermore, he sometimes seems to have forgotten the cards in the hotel, but this is style, it worked quite well in the matches I have seen from him. He was by the way in charge of a CL semifinal in the last year which underlines that he can reach a lot. His regular assistant referee Balkrishna Bootun who comes like Seechurn from Mauritius.
After that, we can concentrate on the only country which will supply two main referees: Algeria.
Mohamed Benouza (l.) is one of those referees who have not got too much luck in their career. He showed really many strong perfomances at international and continental tournaments and was consequently appointed for FIFA World Cup 2010. His team was completed by the Egyptian Naser Sadek Abdel Nabi and Maamar Chabane from Algeria. One of both, probably the latter, missed a final fitness test conducted by CAF in May 2010, according to FIFA’s policy of “stand as team, fall as team”, which I heavily criticize by the way, the whole trio had to stay at home. In the meantime, Djamel Haimoudi has established as Algerian no.1, at least in CAF tournaments. He has been elected as best Arabic referee by a newspaper. However, the quality of his decisions in FIFA U20 World Cup 2011 was below Benouza’s abilities. Therefore, I still favour Benouza, but again, the AFCON will clear such doubts. In addition, a young assistant referee has been nominated from Algeria, too. Abdelhak Etchiali will assist his compatriots. At this point, the Eritrean Angessom Ogbamariam can be mentioned. Having received the largest amount of matches at the last AFCON and many WC qualifiers, he can be a final candidate as assistant referee or at least in matches of greater importance at Benouza’s or Haimoudi’s side.

The 2nd part of CAF’s selected officials consists of referees without future. This is not meant in a negative way, but their age and the fact that they are not under FIFA’s observation leads to this statement.
The alphabetic roster of the selected 39 officials starts with Khalid Abdel Rahman from Sudan. A referee for only one Group Stage match, perhaps for two, but one has really to relativize his chances. He is one of those referees you can select for normal matches in which you need an experienced man you can easily rely on. Born in 1968, he has no chances for tournaments on FIFA level. It is Abdel Rahman’s 3rd participation in an AFCON, he oversaw nine matches in WC qualifiers and merely issued ten yellows. You will not find such an average anyplace else.
Eddy Maillet (l.), the potentially best referee from CAF zone in 2010’s FIFA World Cup, even though this was not too difficult, will blow his career’s final whistle at this tournament. It is not clear whether he is going to retire directly after this AFCON or whether he still wants to savour some qualifiers. In an interview given by Pieter Vink, who was frustrated that he was not on FIFA’s pre list, the Dutch commented that he could not understand how they can leave him at home but take a guy from the Seychelles. No Pieter, this is not any guy from the Seychelles, this is a great referee who will leave the pitch. His moment of glory was certainly the WC qualifier-playoff between Egypt and Algeria on neutral ground. At least, it was his most important inset. I do not know how much he will get, how much CAF is going to give this great referee. A final would be deserved but would not make any sense. The final must be the stage for a future referee who can reach the next World Cup, so I doubt that CAF will give him the final match, but please, give him more than just one damn Group Stage match.
After this tournament, Maillet could work for the CAF Referee Committee, at the moment, he is already the chief of the Seychellian one. Jason Damoo, who also comes from the Seychelles, will work alongside Maillet.
In the 2nd part, some other assistant referees can be mentioned.
Moffat Champiti from Malawi has been nominated, too. It will be his 2nd AFCON after three insets in 2010’s edition. He is a quite experienced assistant referee in his last FIFA year. Therefore, his statement that he wants to be regarded by FIFA in further tournaments surprised me a bit…but at least, he could be an option for a quarterfinal at e.g. Bennett’s side.
Same counts for Peter Edibe from Nigeria. A lot of experience could be necessary in the matches of the young talents that have been selected. Therefore, he could receive a lot of matches, too. He has the advantage like some others that he can handle every match, Nigeria is not joining the tournament as team.

Now it is time for the 3rd part of the nominations containing talents and perhaps meaning a turning point in African refereeing.
It starts with Bouchaib El Ahrach (r.) from Morocco. A good referee who could have lots of chances for belonging to FIFA’s prospective list. He will be assisted by the good and World Cup experienced assistant referee Redouane Achik. El Ahrach is not that young anymore, but he has enough time to show his quality. He could be a winner after Martins and Damon having lost their FIFA badges.
Bakary Gassama from Gambia is potentially a young talent who will get one match and not more, I simply do not know enough about him except his participation in the U23 CAN.
Gehad Grisha is probably the Egyptian hope after the retirement of Essam Abd El Fatah. He was in charge of a CL semifinal’s 1st leg. It is hard to evaluate his chances, let’s see what he is able to achieve. There will be no Egyptian assistant referee.
Nampiandraza Hamada  is the youngest official ever selected for an AFCON, at least based on the nominations for the last editions I have at hand. Born in 1984, he must be a big talent while coming from a country which never had a good referee (who reached a lot) to offer.
One should take this guy under observation.
Eric Otogo as referee and Theophile Vinga from Gabon represent the host nation’s refereeing. He may exhibit a small piece of experience which is definitely not comparable to others’.
Janny Sikazwe from Zambia, who seems to have overtaken his countryman Wellington Kaoma, is the last of this young talents. Actually, the officials that have been mentioned before have nearly no experience. It is hence a blindflight of CAF? We have to wait.
There is also Ali Lemghaifry from Mauretania has got a bit more experience and seems to have convinced the decision makers by his performances shown at U23 CAN in 2011.
However, there is still one country where something quite remarkable occurs. Kacem Ben Naceur, who was the clear no.1 of Tunisia, will not join the competition. Instead, CAF has appointed Slim Jedidi. Latter is 41 years old and is in Tunisia seen as the clear no.1. Ben Naceur has – thank Godness – much time to develop. However, I cannot totally understand the decision in this country. However, the assistant referee’s selection is no surprise, Beshir Hassani, who assisted Eddy Maillet at South Africa’s World Cup, is a candidate for the final, too.
There are remaining some assistant referees: Jean-Claude Birumushahu from Burundi who joined FIFA U20 World Cup 2011; Richard Bouende-Malonga from Congo and Aboubacar Doumbouya from Guinea whom I have never seen so far; Aden Marwa from Kenya, who assisted Helder Martins in Mexico last year, and naturally David Shaanika from Namibia. All these assistant referees are difficult to classify.
Felicien Kabanda is the last man to focus on. The Rwandan referee school seems to be good (see above). After Ntagungira, Kabanda. FIFA seems to rely on Rwandan assistant referees and Kabanda proved to be reliable. He could perhaps assist Noumandiez Doue at AFCON.

After all these selections, a few aspects should not remain unmentioned. 

On the one hand, the biggest surprise probably is that no Asian guest referee will join the competition, this was always the case in the near past (Nishimura, Al Ghamdi...). Last year at AFC Asian Cup, there was one guest from CAF, Mohamed Benouza, along with Etchiali and Meknous as assistant referees, however, they did not receive an inset as trio, Benouza was only appointed one time as Fourth Official. So the fact that no Asian ref will join the AFCON is potentially some kind of "tit-for-tat".
On the other hand, we cannot absolutely say that all the selected officials will get matches; perhaps, CAF is going to appoint two or three of them solely as Fourth Officials or Reserves.

Subsequently, CAF is spared from the question of whether they should take Coffi Codjia again or not. He lost his FIFA badge, hence, this question is definitely answered.
And finally, what about Helder Martins de Carvalho and Inacio Manuel Cândido from Angola? Latter was a very good assistant referee every time when I saw him, it is a real pity that they did not select him. Is it however a pity as well that Martins de Carvalho lost his badge? I do not think so. Yes, “we” have lost a big talent who could have reached many World Cups, but on the other hand, FIFA and CAF are merely doing something like that if they have clear devices on which such a decision is based. Martins was accused for not having been neutral in two matches, if these charges unveil to be right, it will be no pity but a logical and the only right decision. There is no room for a referee preferring a team. 
We do not know why. Helder Martins has returned onto the FIFA list at 7th January. The big question is whether his further career has been damaged, or better, inhowfar it has been damaged and whether CAF can really decide that he has to stay at home.

This should not tarnish African refereeing itself and our – at least my – thrill of anticipation towards the competition which is ahead.

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